Tracey Emin Is Our New Favorite Artist

The other day, we told you about Hadley Freedom’s essay, “The New Confessional Journalism Turns Female Writers Into Tedious, Self-Hating Semi-Celebrities” in The Guardian. In it, the writer prattles on about how female-focused media run the same stories over and over where a women grapples with hating her thighs/ex-boyfriend/inability to have a relationship at all. I have to disagree with her, as I think sharing a personal story is one of the most powerful things you can do. Not every tale can have a happy ending—and if it doesn’t, is it not worth sharing? Sure, I sometimes get weary of hearing the same story told in the same way, but when a confessional story is sincere, striking, and well-told…nothing’s better. I am inspired by women who find fresh and unique ways to share their stories on the page or off. And that’s why I am so moved by British multi-media artist Tracey Emin’s exhibit, “Those Who Suffer Love,” now on display at London’s White Cube Gallery. Tracey tells her stories about sex and love in a visceral and tangible way. “Sex was what held me in bed and got me out of it again in the morning,” she says. Emin’s work reads almost like a diary—she sets the scene with “My Bed,” where we see a bed surrounded with “morning-after” clutter like condom wrappers and strewn clothing. Viewers—many of whom can no doubt relate to this scene—have the chance to project their own sordid sex tales onto the canvas of the bed. In “I Became Greedy, I Asked You to Love Me,” a pink neon light illuminates one searing sentence scrawled in cursive: “Oh Christ, I just wanted you to f**k me and then I became greedy, I asked you to love me.” And then there’s my favorite piece, “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With: 1963-1995,” which was re-created by other artists just for the exhibit after it was destroyed in a fire. In it, Emin lists all of her bedfellows’ colorful names inside a giant tent—she even includes Grandma. [The Guardian]

We don’t need less female confessional pieces; we need more ladies like Tracy Emin who can find new ways to share her story.